“Shall I take your bag into the dressing room, sah?” said the black male chamber-maid as if to intimate that I should leave the aisle free for his operations.
“Many thanks, yes,” I answered him. “Good night, Madam, and to you again much gratitude for the happiness of an evening,” and with all sincerity I directed Mr. Robert Carruthers to bend over her very white hand and kiss it with much fervor that was resulted from the loneliness of the poor Marquise of Grez and Bye, who was but a girl in a strange and large land, although habited in trousers and coat.
“You are a dear boy,” she made answer to me with an equal affection as she disappeared into the curtains of her small room. Then I departed to that room reserved for the disrobing of gentlemen. It was without occupation and I opened my large bag and procured the very beautiful silk night robing that the kind man had sold to me that afternoon. It was in two pieces that very much resembled the costume in which gentlemen play tennis, only more ornamented by silk embroidery and braid and buttons. I was regarding them with joy when into the small room came that Mr. G. Slade of Detroit. He was appareled in garments of the same cut only of a very wide red stripe, his hair was very much in confusion and he had a bottle in his hand in which was a liquid the color of cognac.
“I’ve only been awake for two hours listening to that peach of a skirt trying to make you fuss her a bit, and I thought I would bring you a nip to pick you up after your fight. Gee, it is as I suspected. You are off on a wedding tango and that makes you cold to all wiles! My son, for a wedding garment that thing you have in your hand is a winner. I can’t sleep in silk myself because it makes me feel like a wet dog, but you’ll be so beautiful in them that the bride will be jealous of you and say that even if you are so pretty now you will fade early or that you buy your complexion at the corner emporium. Go on, put ’em on, or was you just looking at ’em for pleasure and going to save ’em by sleeping ‘as is’? Me, I always undress to the skin, but some don’t.”
“I—I was just looking at them with pleasure,” I made haste to answer that Mr. G. Slade of Detroit. “When upon travels I always fear to disrobe myself. I think that I will now retire,” and with a haste that made my hands tremble I replaced the sleeping garments in the large bag and prepared to flee down the aisle to the sleeping apartment in which was the protection of another woman’s presence.
“Not even a nip before you go?” he asked me as he held the large bottle to his lips and threw back his head for a gurgling down his throat.
“No, with much gratitude, and good night,” I answered as I rapidly departed with my cheeks in a flame of scarlet and a fear in my heart. In my flight I passed by that number of seven and came very near opening the curtains of the number of five and precipitating myself upon the bayonets of black taffeta that stood firm from a hat so placed as to bar my intrusion. From that accident I turned and sought the kind black male chamber-maid with a request that he show me how to insert myself into the right place for sleeping.